Fallbrook High students who ride the Route 7 De Luz bus and staff members of First Student, the transportation company that provides bus service for Fallbrook High School, are mourning the loss of 13-year driver Norma Hidalgo, who, along with her sister, Heidi Sanchez, died in an automobile accident in Mexico Sept. 25.
The sisters were only three days into their vacation when they were killed in an accident in Jalisco, Guadalajara. Hidalgo, 46, was the mother of three and resided in Fallbrook. Sanchez, 38, was the mother of four and resided in Los Angeles.
The sudden loss of Hidalgo shocked and crushed the staff at First Student.
“We saw her leave and couldn’t wait for her to come back as usual and then you get the word,” said Justin Quinn, location manger for First Student, Inc. “The loss is immeasurable and has affected everyone here. We’re a close knit group and she was family.”
Quinn said Hidalgo, who was visiting family during her vacation, was a joyous person who refused to let serious health issues conquer her.
“She was a loving person who lit up a room,” said Quinn. “She was full of energy and very hard-working. She was adored by her students and she adored them. She was also a fighter. She survived Stage 4 breast cancer.”
Quinn said the accident – in addition to causing great emotional trauma – has caused financial challenges for the families of Hidalgo and Sanchez as their bodies had to be transferred home and service arrangements made. Those that would like to help the families can visit a GoFundMe page that has been set up: https://www.gofundme.com/norma-y-heidi-hidalgo.
Quinn said the students that Hidalgo drove have worked to raise money for the families by selling T-shirts in her memoriam.
“She was so impactful and beyond great to have on the staff,” said Quinn of Hidalgo. “It’s a tremendous loss for all of us.”
Services for Hidalgo will be held Saturday (Oct. 14) at 11 a.m. at Living Waters Christian Fellowship, located at 2000 Reche Rd. in Fallbrook.